THIS WEEK IN CONGRESS - We need Common-sense gun reform

Oct 6, 2017

In this issue: October 6, 2017


Monument plans? The Public right to know

The people of the Marianas and other Americans with National Monuments in their backyards have a right to know what the new administration is planning to do in these areas. So this week, along with 25 House colleagues, I cosponsored a Resolution of Inquiry, H.Res. 555, that the administration release a final report on its review of the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument and Monuments around the nation, as well as all supporting documents. There were more than 2.5 million public comments submitted, mine included, and the public deserves a look. The resolution follows on my questioning of Chris Oliver, Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries, at a recent Natural Resources Committee hearing, about the Monument Review process and a similar lack of transparency by the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council in its decision-making (subject of a news article on Wednesday here).

OIA discretionary grant period open

The Office of Insular Affairs announced Thursday that the Northern Mariana Islands and other insular areas may now submit applications for discretionary technical assistance program (TAP) and maintenance assistance program (MAP) funding for fiscal year 2018. TAP provides grant funding for short-term projects intended to meet immediate needs. MAP provides funding to support, develop, improve and institutionalize infrastructure maintenance practices. With funding appropriated by Congress, OIA’s TAP and MAP programs continue to be vital components of overall federal financial support for the Northern Marianas, allowing important projects undertaken by local community groups to move forward even when local funding is insufficient or unavailable. All applications are to be submitted through Instructions to apply are available at the Office of Insular Affairs website - Local government entities, independent authorities, educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations are encouraged to apply.

Stopping nuclear proliferation

President Trump is said to be planning next week to withhold certification of Iranian compliance with the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which holds Iranian nuclear arms development in check. This week, I joined 182 other Members of Congress concerned about nuclear proliferation in urging the President not to withhold certification. The issue is important to the Marianas, because any chance of steering North Korea away from further nuclear development is undercut, if the U.S. backs out of JCPOA. And the Marianas is within range of North Korean missiles. The President is required to provide to Congress credible evidence of noncompliance. He has not. And the International Atomic Energy Agency, along with America’s European allies, Russia, and China are all in consensus that Iran is in fact complying with its obligations under the agreement. If we want to live in a safer world, America should keep its word.

How to deal with North Korea

A key focus of my talks in China was how to slow or stop North Korea’s rapidly advancing nuclear and missile capabilities, which threaten the Mariana Islands. Five guiding principles for achieving that goal were outlined in a letter to the President from myself and 67 other Members of Congress. We believe the President should:

  • Increase economic pressure on North Korea through the imposition and effective enforcement of sanctions.
  • Enhance U.S. diplomatic efforts, especially crisis management channels.
  • Strengthen, not subvert, our alliances in East Asia.
  • Recognize that Personnel is Policy.
  • Maintain Deterrence and Defense.

Rather than using reckless rhetoric and sending muddled messages to our allies, the U.S. should pursue a comprehensive strategy toward North Korea based on these five principles. That is how to keep the Marianas safe.

DFEMS awarded $67,647 Hazmat grant

The Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration has awarded $67,647 in formula funds to the Commonwealth’s Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services. The Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness Grant will help fund the development, implementation, and improvement of emergency plans and training of the Commonwealth’s emergency responders to be better prepared for an incident involving the transportation of hazardous materials. Congratulations to DFEMS.




Legislative Highlights


On the Floor

  • H.Con.Res. 71 – Fiscal Year 2018 Republican Budget Resolution (Passed, 219-206)
  • H.R. 36 – Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (Passed, 237-189)
  • H.R. 2316 – Cooperative Management of Mineral Rights Act of 2017 (Agreed to by voice vote)
  • H.R. 2582 – Confirming State Land Grants for Education Act (Agreed to by voice vote)
  • H.R. 2937 – Community Reclamation Partnerships Act (Agreed to by voice vote)
  • H.R. 289 – Guides and Outfitters Act (Agreed to by voice vote)
  • S. 652 – Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act of 2017 (Agreed to by voice vote)
  • H.R. 2408 – Protecting Girls’ Access to Education in Vulnerable Settings (Agreed to by voice vote)
  • H.R. 1624 – Municipal Finance Support Act of 2017 (Agreed to by voice vote)

Legislation I Cosponsored

  • H.R. 3947 – To prohibit the possession or transfer of certain firearm accessories, and for other purposes
  • H.R. 1078 – Military Hunger Prevention Act
  • H.Res. 367 – Establishing the Select Committee on Gun Violence Prevention
  • H.Res. 555 — Of inquiry requesting the President and directing the Secretary of the Interior to transmit, respectively, certain documents and other information to the House of Representatives relating to the executive order on the review of designations under the Antiquities Act


On the Floor

  • S. 585 – Dr. Chris Kirkpatrick Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017
  • A Motion to Go to Conference on the National Defense Authorization Act
  • Additional Supplemental Package to Assist with Ongoing Recovery Efforts following Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria

Committee Hearings

Wednesday, October 11

  • Committee on Natural Resources Markup

Thursday, October 12

  • Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans Legislative Hearing
  • Committee on Veterans' Affairs Markup
  • Committee on Veterans' Affairs Legislative Hearing